Last time on Re: Creators, we got a bit of a battle royale/reunion with all the Creations aside from the Military Princess before they end up pulling out in order to re-assess the situation. We also learn that said Creations are starting to develop more individuality now that they’re not being restricted by their fictional settings, the characters discover the true origin of Altair, Magane kills her Creator in an attempt to become all-powerful, and we finally have plot in our show whilst still mixing in the Shirobako-like discussions regarding what it means to make fiction and such.
As you guys know, there’s been quite a few complaints – with me contributing quite a bit – on how these early episodes have been establishing the rules without pushing the story forward. I’ve only excused it a bit because I thought the rules were interesting to ponder, but after going through a quarter of the show without much of a clear goal, I think I have every right to smack Ei Aoki’s head with a paper fan. And then he’ll send me to hell with his word attacks, “Christ from Angel Beats“-style, but it’ll be worth it in the end. I do find it hilarious how it’s the same people who love Fate/Zero that are saying this though, considering that show had the same exact problem – although the laughs sort of faded once people started bringing out that fundamentally flawed “it’s two cour, so it’s allowed to take its time and dish out all the exposition/world-building it wants in the first few episodes” train of thought. So just because it pays off dividends later means it’s okay for the beginning to suck monkeyballs?
Look, Re: Creators is a good show. Probably the best show of the season. But it has some fundamental problems that I can’t just ignore. And I especially don’t understand why people think it’s really well-directed. It has good camera angles like a live-action film and all that, but I’ve never been a fan of that semi-recent trend in anime when it comes to shooting the stuff like a movie. I think only Polygon Pictures has been able to successfully blend that sort of style with their CG animation, while everyone else is mostly just going the same route a lot of AAA games walk in that it thinks being cinematic by itself is the future without playing off the medium’s individual strengths. And usually when I see an anime, I want to see some fucking animation. There’s been a few visual spectacles in terms of the action scenes, but the action itself isn’t shot very well, and most of the show is dialogue, which is definitely not enriched by the visuals at all.
Also, I’m getting a bit tired of people promoting this thing like it’s a classic in the making or anime of the season or “it’s so anime!” like a Code Geass fanatic. Whether it’s deserved or not is up for debate, but not only is the show not even halfway finished, it’s starting to feel less like praise of the anime and more like a bragging contest. To be fair, most of that is related to Anitwitter and the anime Youtube community (which I’ve come to realize is mostly just a bunch of ego-surfing), while the bloggers (or at least the ones on my blogroll) seem to be more concerned with praising the show based on what they see. Nevertheless, all the attitude surrounding this show makes me glad I run a small-time blog. Freedom may be overrated at times, but in terms of a hobby centered on fiction, there’s never enough.
But that’s enough shitting on a show I enjoy. Let’s watch the episode now. Oh, and if you’re wondering why this Let’s Watch is coming before Bahamut’s, Fanime screwed my schedule a bit, and quite frankly this is the more interesting show to discuss. Don’t worry, I’ll blog about Favaro’s new hairdo later.
- The episode continues off from the majority of the characters learning who Altair is, and the audience itself learns that Altair is actually a fanfiction parody of an already established character from a social game, although it’s not quite clear what role said original character had. Not that it really matters unless they decide to bring her in later, but I sincerely doubt that.
- As per standard Re: Creators tradition, we launch into a discussion regarding the nature of fanfic characters and how they can achieve identity independent of the original character. Nothing much to say here except I hope you find the nature of secondary creations interesting.
- The characters find out Setsuna Shimazaki’s name, but apparently it’s a pen name, as they can’t find her online – and apparently it’s been three months since she last showed up in the net world. Given this is the real world though, plus with the military backing them, it’s pretty much only a matter of time before her dead situation is discovered.
- Two new Creators join the mix. Blitz Tokar’s creator is a female named Shunma Suruga while Yuya’s creator is a rude male named Ryo Yatoji. Yuya doesn’t take kindly to his creator’s attitude and summons his other self to shake him up a bit, revealing that he’s not just a cosplayer in the process. Given how Ryo doesn’t exactly give a good first impression, none of the other characters really fight to restrain our shonen antagonist.
- Yes, avoid the hand and the head. Everything else is fair game for this douchebag who blew me off at the party. I thought we had something special, man!
- Hahaha. I like how this scene just cuts to the outside of the room whilst Yuya’s beatdown is left to our imagination.
- After watching Altair’s video on his own, Sota calls Meteorra for a discussion, but his inability to spit out his involvement with Altair hinders things. You know, I’m sure there’s a sad story behind this, but you do realize that watching Sota hold back on vital information isn’t fun to watch, right? Moreover, if he doesn’t say anything, then this scene itself will be nothing but a pointless padding mechanism, especially considering there’s no way the military won’t find out about Setsuna over time. He better say something to the most understanding character in this show at the very least.
- I mean look at that face. You can talk to Mamika, but you can’t talk to that?
Meteorra: Oh by the way Sota, you missed something very funny yesterday. See, Yuya finally met his creator, and then…
Sota: Uh, that’s okay Meteorra. I think I got the gist when you said that he met that asshole.
- So while he’s pussyfooting around implicating himself for the most part, Sota basically reveals that he was jealous of his friend’s talents to the point that he shunned her, which contributed to her suicide when said talent got her in trouble with the public. Can’t say I don’t know that feeling. While I’m grateful for the extra freedom being a small-time blog gives me and I like the anime dudes who acknowledge me, I can’t help feeling sad when I look at their popularity compared to mine. Although seriously, that pineapple pizza meme can go die, just like the “bat credit card” that shows up at every Doug Walker Q&A can go die.
- But no matter how relatable that feeling is, it’s still not a good reason for him to push off revealing an involvement that’s going to be eventually discovered. There’s a difference between making sense and being exciting, and Sota’s closed mouth is nowhere near the latter, just like how the finale to ACCA is nowhere near the latter.
- We finally get to see Alice’s world and the struggles she had to endure with regards to the countless fighting and being unable to save children from fire breathing dragons. While I can’t say for sure if the quality of her anime is good from that scene alone, it does do a good job of establishing where Alice comes from in regards to her motivations at the very least. Just one problem: I requested this two episodes ago!
- In the present-day, Alice and Mamika have a discussion regarding how the former does not hold the latter in contempt for trying to stop her, as our magical girl was just sticking true to the idealistic beliefs that her setting taught her, and Alice respects that. These two really make a good pair, don’t they? Not for the yuri vibe that a lot of fans seem to see in them, but more for how they can understand each other despite coming from different backgrounds and such. It’s like a fantastical version of a war veteran befriending a little kid, only not as creepy.
- Alice then launches into a discussion regarding how the real world is even more messed up than her world (despite the lack of dragons), as human beings in general are lazy sloths with no real protagonist to save us from our sins, and this is just from her experiences in Japan. Imagine if she visited America and saw how a country without much in the way of gun regulations fared. And again, this would probably be more effective if we actually saw Alice observing humans, but does anyone really expect this anime to do “show don’t tell” at this point?
- Mamika counters her argument by saying that the real world created hopeful stories that allowed Alice and Mamika to be a protagonist in the first place, so they can’t be all bad if they’re willing to give the Creations a fighting chance that the real world will never have. Mind you, Mamika coming from a show that was intended for six-year olds means that she can’t fathom the difference between protagonist responsibilities, but the point is that most authors know that a big difference reality and fiction have is that in the latter, the protagonist having a fighting chance is a possibility. Even in most nihilistic works, it’s important for that chance to exist in order to lure in the mainstream audience. That way, when they fail, at least we can understand why they failed.
- After Mamika flies off in a creepily foreboding way, Sota ends up getting visited by Meido Magane, who reveals that she overheard his conversation from last week and blackmails him into exchanging contact information with her. Not really sure why she’s doing that or what she really has on Sota in terms of blackmail, as while I can understand the guilt, what he contributed to Setsuna’s death isn’t really worth getting blackmailed over by the psycho here. But the Internet has already given the dude enough grief, so I won’t bother adding to that mess.
- Wow, this animation. It’s hard to tell through a still image, but the non-Sota characters above aren’t even moving an eyelid in that shot, and it goes on for like three seconds.
- By the way, while I’ve noticed people getting fed up with Sota before I did, I’m not really sure why people are starting to hate the show “just” because of him. There’s a lot more going on in the anime than his presence, and it’s been established long ago that he’s not really the main focus character. It’s like how a lot of people only know Scum’s Wish for the sex scenes when they only take up about 1/6th of an episode at most.
- Mamika confronts Altair about what she’s really doing and…yeah, Mamika is raising a lot of death flags right now, isn’t she? It doesn’t take much for Altair to make it very clear that she doesn’t care about Mamika or anyone, even flat-out admitting she’ll kill them all. And I’m pretty sure Mamika’s magical girl powers are no match for the dark edginess that is a military princess who can destroy a mecha in one blow with a make-shift violin.
- Mamika continues her speech by saying that while the real world has changed her, she still wants to hold to her magical girl beliefs – even if Altair calls her a hypocrite for it – because that’s what she believes is right. And just like all magical girls from a kids’ show, she wants Altair to turn good, and she’s not afraid to use her now-destructive magical girl powers to accomplish that.
- Then she brings up Setsuna’s name…
- …and a bunch of Youtube reaction guys just made a face like they’ve been anal raped.
- Oh yeah, I can see Altair’s popularity dropping quite a bit now that her true identity as a motherfucking mommy’s girl is revealed. Between Todoroki from Hero Academia and a walking spoiler from Persona 5, I’ve been feeling a bit weary of them as of late myself.
- I think what makes this scene especially shocking is when you take into consideration that Mamika’s show does not have blood in it, and while we did see her reaction to getting cut by Celestia in the second episode, that was a paper cut compared to getting skewered with Unlimited Blade Works. This poor magical girl is now experiencing true pain and death for the first time, yet despite all that, she won’t give up her naive beliefs. That’s pretty nihilistic when you think about it, and it really adds a lot of weight to Re: Creator’s storytelling when the visuals aren’t up to the task.
- Holy shit, did Mamika just nuke an entire block with her “Friendship is Magic” power? I’m pretty sure she just killed many innocent civilians in that explosion given how far we see it spread…ahahaha, I’m just kidding. I can clearly see that the surrounding area is abandoned, plus it wouldn’t make sense for Altair to be in a place where people can spot her to begin with.
- The end. And I can just imagine the reactions regarding how it had to end right there.
Okay everyone will have already said how good an episode this was before I get this post up, so let me just say that I think it was an important step for Re: Creators to take. While I’m sure a lot of people are going to focus on the ending due to its “Madoka Episode 3″-like shock factor, there’s a lot more going on in this episode than what Bless highlights (incidentally dude, why would Re: Creators need to remember love for magical girls? This show has always had love for everything it’s parodying, as otherwise I wouldn’t be watching it). Not all of it is positive, as Sota’s inability to fess up is just a padding mechanism at this point, but otherwise this episode clarified a few important things that we need to keep in mind going forward.
First off, Altair’s motivation for what she’s doing is now made crystal clear, and it helps that said motivation is tied into her very conception as a parody character. While there’s still a lot to clear up regarding the details of her relationship with Setsuna, we now have sympathetic reason to give her arc direction, even if we hate her along the way. Second, we’re getting some important progress regarding these anime characters developing new personalities and outlooks now that they’re not confined by their stories, which is an arc that has been going on in the background since Episode 2, but has been put more to the forefront as of lately. In addition to Mamika’s growth in resolve and Meteorra’s development of non-NPC emotions way back when, we have Magane developing world-ending plans and Alice realizing that the world of the gods is so fucked up that she has no pity for the land that created her. The development by the latter two is smaller compared to the former duo, but it is there, especially when compared to the other half of the “fictional” cast, who mostly just react to things. I’m sure that’ll come later, and from now on, I’ll pay more attention to those changes as long as they’re not small-time like Celestia discovering cellphones.
But at the end of the day, I can’t deny the direction that Mamika in general created in terms of raising the stakes and tributing magical girls whilst poking fun at their faults, even if it only took up about six minutes of screen time. Mind you, a good chunk of that direction is still speculative. Some people have already declared the magical girl to be dead, but I won’t believe it until I see it with my own two eyes. Anime has had a long history of making their characters survive impossible odds for as long as I can remember, plus there’s an important question we have to take into consideration: what exactly happens to a Creation when they bite the dust? Their show still has to exist somehow, right? Is it wiped from existence, Persona 5-style? Or does what we know of that character just disappear, and when they come back again, they’ll have lost all memory of what happened in the real world?
Hopefully next week addresses that if Mamika is really dead, but for now, let’s wrap this up.